Zesco to complete Zambia fiber backbone

The Zambia Electricity Supply Corp. (Zesco) is set to invest US$43 million to start construction on the second phase of Zambia's fiber-optic backbone network, built to provide connections with Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and countries in Europe.

The cable system, designed to offer a reliable telecommunications system for mobile, fixed and Internet technology, will cover 4,000 kilometers and will connect to other cables under the Indian Ocean.

Zesco's senior marketing and public relations manager, Monica Chisela, said the construction of the second phase of the cable will start in the third quarter. Zesco is a government-run power utility company and is installing the fiber cables on its power lines across the country.

The first phase of the project was completed in June last year and covered 1,700 kilometers at a cost of $13 million.

"The cable would provide a wider coverage for Internet and digital transmission for radio and television telecommunications operators in the country," Chisela said.

When the connection with Namibia is complete, Chisela said, Zambia will be connected through undersea cables to Europe. Namibia, along the coast, will have landing points for major African cables including the East Africa Submarine Cable System project and the SAT-3 satellite system.

Several service providers including mobile telecom company (MTN), Zambia Telecommunication Company, the Zambia Revenue Authority and the Communications Authority of Zambia, are already using Zesco fiber network services.

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